Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, Charged With Homicide in Connection With Kenosha Shootings During Jacob Blake Protest

A gunman is shown in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during protests against the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
A gunman is seen on the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, during protests against the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Getty

Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Illinois, has been arrested in connection with the shooting of three demonstrators in Kenosha, Wisconsin, that left two people dead and one injured.

The teen was charged in Antioch, which is about 30 minutes southwest of Kenosha, just over the state line. A court document showed Rittenhouse was charged with first-degree intentional homicide Wednesday morning in connection with the shootings that had occurred just hours before, The New York Times reported.

He is expected to be extradited to Kenosha on Friday, authorities said.

Rittenhouse, and others, were part of self-proclaimed militia members who traveled to Kenosha, according to local authorities who said Wednesday they neither invited nor approved of them.

The shootings happened just before midnight on the third night of protests over the shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man who was shot several times Sunday as he entered an SUV. Demonstrators Tuesday night clashed with law enforcement officials near the downtown county courthouse, and cellphone video from the chaotic scene showed armed civilians patrolling the streets.

In several, a male with a long gun can be seen firing rounds in the crowd of protesters as many run from the sound of gun fire.

Another video shows Rittenhouse and a group getting bottles of water from a law enforcement officer in an armored vehicle, though hey are clearly civilians in violation of the curfew order.

The officer thanks them for their help before driving away.

“We appreciate you guys,” he says. “We really do.”

 "Our deputies would toss water to anyone," said Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth at press conference Wednesday afternoon, during which the alleged shooter was not mentioned by name. 

Beth said he had been asked Tuesday why he would not deputize citizens. "I said 'oh, hell no,'" Beth relayed at the news conference. "Last night was the perfect reason for that. Two people lost their lives."

The victims' names were not released. The fatalities were a 26-year-old and a 36-year-old, authorities said. The injured person was 26. All were local residents.

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who is Black, said in an interview with the news program "Democracy Now!" that the shootings were not surprising and that white militias have been ignored for too long.

"How many times across this country do you see armed gunmen, protesting, walking into state Capitols, and everybody just thinks it's OK?" Barnes said. "People treat that like it's some kind of normal activity that people are walking around with assault rifles."

A witness, Julio Rosas, 24, said the gunman stumbled and fell, and "two people jumped onto him and there was a struggle for control of his rifle. At that point during the struggle, he just began to fire multiple rounds and that dispersed people near him."

"The rifle was being jerked around in all directions while it was being fired," Rosas told The Associated Press.

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has "agreed to accept federal assistance." 

But officials at the Kenosha press conferences said National Guard troops had already arrived in the area, and more were on the way. Security measures were being tightened, they said, including moving the curfew back from 8 p.m. to 7 p.m., and continuing the closure of Interstate 41 in Kenosha County.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused President Donald Trump of “making matters worse” in Kenosha and elsewhere by encouraging vigilantes.

"What we saw in Kenosha breaks your heart; it does pierce the soul, as was said,” Pelosi said when asked about the unrest.

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